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  • I was ready. The crossbows sat taut and deadly on their stands and I knelt behind them, consciously noting and re-noting where my personal weapons were so that I could seize them if necessary. The ranks had grown silent and expectant in the bright afternoon, all eyes towards the approaching riders. Orgos, still mounted, glanced over his shoulder to where the dust cloud had grown sharper and had sprouted men, distinct and shining in the sun. The sandy earth burst under their horses’ hooves like breaking waves and they sailed towards us, motionless in their saddles, crimson cloaks now visible at their backs, their pennanted lances raised. air jordan retro on sale They were slowing down.
    On the one hand, of course, it made my desire to get away from the party and the arrowheads, lance tips, fire, and death that seemed to follow them about stronger still, but it also made life without the likes of Mithos at my side rather less appealing. And painfully brief. Without him, I would have been snuffed out like a candle, and not a particularly bright candle at that. Scattering crossbow bolts on the ground in a moment that called for absolute silence hadn’t been too bright, and it had been an act of unprecedented mercy that Mithos hadn’t killed me himself. His glower on returning from the empty street softened into a resigned sigh and the muttered remark that it could have happened to anyone. Perhaps so, but it had happened to me, and, to my mind, it usually did. The idea of running from the party, top though they were on someone’s unpopularity list, was, for someone with my combat skills, roughly equivalent to going swimming with three or four large rocks chained to my legs. I wondered absently if the party members thought of me as the rock nike kd basketball shoes chained to their legs. I made a mental note to be a little nicer to them, in case they should decide that this rock-lugging bit wasn’t worth the effort. If I was cut free of the party, I would sink. Fast.
    I considered the ancient book and wondered what I was to make of such a yarn. There was clearly at least as much folktale here as there was history, but that is hardly unusual. The question, one I posed to the rest of the party after relaying what I had learned, was simple: Who would want to re-create some ancient legend about a ghost army and why?
    He seemed to scan our faces, as if picking the weak point of the circle that hemmed him in, and when his gaze fell on me—scared and weaponless—he seemed to decide.
    I did.
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    I lunged, and, as he pulled his scyax across his chest, ready to swing, something Orgos had taught me kicked in. I dropped the tip of my blade under his parry and it connected. It was a weak strike, nothing like enough to pierce his breastplate, but as the sword kicked in my hand I lost my balance and fell forwards. Suddenly my face was inches from his helm and I could see blue eyes through the eye slits and a misty stone jordan retro 14 like an opal set into the bronze between them, glowing orange in the firelight.
    The back of the wagon was dark, hot, and bouncing erratically. I threw the bolt on the top flap with an unsteady hand and raised it to the roof, hooking it in place with a wooden peg. The brightness outside hurt my eyes. Garnet was riding close, his helm sparkling and his mouth set. He had unslung his ax from the thong on his saddle and he clasped it in his right hand. It looked huge and cruel against his thin, sinewy arm. He saw me and nodded slightly, his eyes meeting mine for an expressionless moment. I was conscious that we had increased speed and that Garnet’s dappled mare was in a full canter and sweating heavily. Things were slipping out of control again and my bladder seemed to have air jordan 1 retro suddenly filled to bursting point.